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King Of Sixty-One set on Gold Cup path after Class 3 win

3 minute read

King Of Sixty-One showed his rivals a clean pair of heels in the $70,000 Class 3 race (1600m) on Saturday with an easy five-length win.

KING OF SIXTY ONE winning the CLASS 3 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

With that dominant frontrunning victory, winning trainer Tim Fitzsimmons has also decided the Irish-bred five-year-old will embark on his journey towards the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on 5 October.

Jumping from barrier seven in the eight-horse field, jockey Ryan Curatolo bided his time on the $13 favourite before finding the lead and the fence at the 1000m while $15 second favourite, Maxima (Bernardo Pinheiro) settled on his flank.

Once up in front, Curatolo set his own solid tempo in the race and with no pressure on the bend, the flashy grey kicked strongly at the top of the straight to put a few lengths on Maxima while the rest of the field, headed by Always Together (Mohd Zaki), battled to stay in touch.

The race was all but over with Maxima under pressure at the 350m, but King Of Sixty-One still had plenty up his sleeve and once given more rein by Curatolo, he extended his lead over the final furlong for the easiest of wins.

Five lengths back, Always Together put in his best run at Class 3 level to stay on gamely for second while Saint Tropez (Ruan Maia) ran on strongly late to finish another three-quarters-of-a-length back in third.

The winning time was 1 min 35.19secs for the 1600m on the Short Course on the yielding track.

Fitzsimmons was happy and praised Curatolo for the prefect ride before penciling in the Singapore Gold Cup for the son of Gutaifan.

"Ryan rode him (King Of Sixty-One) beautifully," he said of the French hoop, who paired with Fitzsimmons to win the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race (1400m) on Gold Governor ($20) three races earlier.

"He won on him two starts back (in a Class 4 race over 1600m on 27 April) and this was a very similar ride.

"No hurry to cross, let him have a breather and then just reel off the sectionals. When he (King Of Sixty-One) kicked, the race was over.

"He is one-dimensional and is best when he leads but he is so honest. When he gets things his own way like he did today, he's extremely hard to beat.

"A few things were in his favour today. I was worried he might get taken on early so that was a bonus when they didn't.

"I also thought he appreciated the give out of the ground and that's the first time he's had rain (in a race) in Singapore.

"The Short Course looked to be his best track too. He deserved that win and we will look at a (Singapore) Gold Cup preparation for him now."

Fitzsimmons also pointed to a Class 4 win on 29 September last year over the Singapore Gold Cup's distance as a factor in his decision.

"He needed to win in Class 3 to justify heading that way (towards the Singapore Gold Cup)," explained the 2022 Singapore champion trainer.

"He needs to get his ratings headed in the right direction for a lightweight crack at the Gold Cup.

"So it's a big box ticked today but the fact he won previously over 2000m was handy too. That win was also on the Short Course, so is the Gold Cup, and that's in his favour as well.

"It's tricky what races he will go to next but we'll plot a course and hope he gets a chance come October."

Curatolo, who made it a treble on Saturday after Combustion  ($42) also won in the $50,000 Class 4 race (2000m) for trainer Richard Lim two races later, agreed with Fitzsimmons that the Singapore Gold Cup run would be a realistic goal.

"This type of horse (King Of Sixty-One ) would go well in the (Singapore) Gold Cup," he said.

"He can go to the front and keep up at the same pace. With a lightweight, he could run a very cheeky race. It's a shame I can't ride him at 50kgs!

"He was impressive. I know this horse well and had him balanced early. You have to wait until the right time to ask him to go and when I did, he kicked strongly.

"Tim had the plan and the horse did the rest.

"It's been an amazing year. The support I got from a number of trainers and owners is very good and I'm very happy with my treble.

"Hopefully, we can finish off the season with many wins."

King Of Sixty-One's fourth win from 16 starts in Singapore took his prizemoney to over $180,000 for the AJ's Stable.

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